June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee


Last week we were lucky enough to go out to the Milwaukee Tools HQ to get a glimpse at some of the new releases they've got all geared up for this year. As one of our favorite tool companies, they didn't disappoint with the sheer variety and usefulness of their new tools and accessories.

A few of the highlights of what we saw were...

Milwaukee_cordless_bandsaw.jpg18-Volt Cordless Bandsaw - They're still putting the finishing touches on this one, but were nice enough to let us try it out and, honestly, it's the kind of tool that makes us wish we had taken up plumbing instead of carpentry. It's got a whole lot of power but it's light enough to easily work with both above your head and in tight spaces. Having an awareness of how people will be using it, Milwaukee has made the shoe retractable, so the tool is able to cut a pipe that's already attached to a wall. It's one of those tools that makes your chest swell a bit when you hold it. There will also be a corded version available and both will be hitting the market probably in October.

Milwaukee_shockwave.jpgShockwave Driver Bits - This is one of those ideas that, once you hear it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think it up. Driver bits built specifically for impact drivers. Anyone who spends time on a job site these days (like we do), knows that impact drivers are taking over. That said, they really do a number on driver bits so Milwaukee has tailored this new line to withstand the abuse. In addition to other features, the new bits have a slight degree of flexibility in order to handle the added intensity of the impact driver.

Milwaukee_PVC_Cutter.jpgCordless Tubing Cutter - Much like their copper pipe cutter from last year, this one is a real niche tool. We tried it out and it had no problem slicing up pex and pvc. It has a great feel and possibly the power to do a little topiary sculpting as well.

Testing and Measurement Tools - This is a new area for Milwaukee, but judging from what we saw, they're going to quickly establish themselves in the market. Of the tools, the most interesting is the Sub-Scanner which is sort of like an amped up, battle-crazed stud finder. It can be used to find studs and pipes in walls and ceilings, as well as rebar in concrete. The cool thing about it is that it lets you know the exact depth of what it is you're finding, so if you only have one option for placing that pipe hanger, you'll know that only a 2" screw will work because of the rebar that's hidden in the wall.

Those are just some of the highlights and by no means a complete overview of what we saw. Milwaukee is also rolling out some nice 12-volt LED flashlights, a 12-volt power port, a very cool looking mini-radio, oh and about a thousand new grinders.

Follow the action over at Milwaukee Tools.

Milwaukee tools at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 12, 2009

Rockwell RK9110 JawHorse Miter Saw Station

rockwell_miter_saw_station.jpgAs part of our ongoing series cataloging all of the JawHorse accessories, we've finally come to the Miter Saw Station (see below for a list of the other accessories). The Miter Saw Station is simply a platform that attaches to the JawHorse and can support your miter saw. There are also two rollers that can be used as out-feed support if attached to a 2x, which is also clamped in the JawHorse. It's a pretty basic affair and it costs about $80.

Now, we're fans of Rockwell tools, as anyone who reads the site knows, but we've got to say that this seems like a whole lot of money to spend on something that could be made out of scraps kicking around the shop. To us, anything that needs a customer-supplied 2x4 in order to work, shouldn't cost $80. But that's just us. If you've bought into the JawHorse system and want everything to fit together perfectly and have a similar look, this could be a nice addition to your workshop.

At Amazon.com and Rockwell

Our review of the JawHorse is here
Our thoughts on the Plywood Jaw Accessory are here
Our thoughts on the Jog Jaw Attachment are here

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 21, 2009

Rockler Cove Cutting Table Saw Jig

rocker_cove_jig.jpgTable saws aren't just for cutting straight lines. A while back we found a video of someone cutting a perfect circle on one and just yesterday while we were flipping through the new Rockler catalog, we were reminded that you can also use a table saw to mill up crown molding.

In the past, we've played around with the process just to see the general idea of how to do it and we found that it's actually not that hard. It boils down to running a board over the blade at an angle, making sure to keep the angle consistent and to not try to take off too much wood in one pass. The reason why the Rockler catalog jogged our memory is because they've got a special jig for the process.

The jig is available only at Rockler and costs about $90. If you're the type that gets off on manufacturing every single aspect of a project, or if you're trying to match some ancient crown molding, it's probably worth the cost. For us, though, it's just too easy to head down to the lumber yard and pick some up there.

An article about using the jig is here and we also found a video.

At Rockler

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

December 3, 2008

Arbortech Power Chisel and Mini-Grinder


We've always thought that grinders don't get the respect they deserve. We see them as sort of an all-purpose material remover, and it doesn't matter if that material is metal, stone, or wood. For as useful as they are, it's a shame that they've stayed mostly in the hands of contractors. Maybe we're wrong, but as far as what we've witnessed with our own eyes, there aren't that many DIYers with grinders.

Along these lines, we just heard that The Australian company Arbortech, known for their fantastic AS160 brick and mortar saw has released two attachments for a the grinder which will hopefully make more people look twice at this great tool.

The first attachment is a Power Chisel and it's exactly what it sounds like. The following video shows it in action and its wood removing power is impressive.

The second attachment is a Mini-Grinder and this little guy looks like it can really do some damage. The video for this one shows it in very delicate and precise situations, but we'd wager that it could come in handy in all sorts of building situations.

According to Arbortech, the attachments fit on most 4" and 4-1/2" grinders and can be installed within minutes. The attachments can be purchased as stand-alones or with a grinder. Not surprisingly, there is about a $100 price difference.

We checked out the Amazon reviews and we ran across one guy who had some problems getting the mini grinder to fit on his DeWalt. We then checked the Arbortech site for details on this and found that this can be a bit tricky. If you're interested in these tools and want to buy them as attachments for an existing grinder, you should go here and see if you'll need any adapters and what kind.

Power Chisel (without tool) at Amazon.com
Power Chisel (with tool) at Amazon.com
Mini-Grinder (without tool) at Amazon.com
Mini-Grinder (with tool) at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 22, 2008

RotoZip Dust Extraction Adapter Kit

roto_zip_dust_extractor.jpgWe pity anyone who doesn't understand the glories of the RotoZip. It's sort of the younger, crazier brother of the laminate trimmer. But even though it's such a great tool, we've always had two complaints about the tool; we rip through blades like they were tissue paper, and the dust can be extreme.

There have been moves on the first front, with the release of the XBits a few years ago, and now, to address our second issue, we see that RotoZip has released a Dust Extraction Adapter Kit. The look of it is simple enough, just a plastic sheath that sits over the bit while it does its work, and a 1-1/4" hose adapter to suck all the dust away.

The kit sells for about $16, which isn't much when you think of the time spent sweeping up the mess you just made.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 8, 2008

Bench Dog Crown-Cut

bench_dog_crown_cut.jpgPeople who cut crown molding all the time make it look easy, and after you commit a few tricks to memory, it pretty much is. But if you're not familiar with the concepts behind it, it can get frustrating. And it's that particular type of frustration that really gets to the center of your head. Sort of like when your lawnmower won't start.

To help head-off this unique form of deep-seated rage, Bench Dog has released the Crown-Cut, a cool looking crown molding jig that fits on any miter saw 10" and larger. There are two main components to it; the crown stabilizers and the guide. The stabilizers are adjustable pieces that hold the crown in the correct position for the cut, and the guide, printed on the vertical face of the Crown-Cut, is nothing less than a one-stop reference for cutting crown. With helpful diagrams for cutting inside and outside corners, and likely eliminates the first 30 minutes of mistakes and mock-ups. The vertical face also has three adjustable risers that can give support to crown up to 6" wide

There are two models available; one made of polymer plastic and one made of Baltic Birch. The wood version is $40 and the plastic one is $30. There might be some durability differences, but it probably comes down to aesthetic preference.

Wood Crown-Cut at Amazon.com
Plastic Crown-Cut at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 15, 2008

SawHelper Ultrafence Portable Miter Saw Stand

Sawhelper.jpgA lot of the tool world is dominated by the likes of Bosch, Ryobi, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and the other big name tool manufacturers. There's no doubt that they make some great tools, but we always like it when some little company produces a tool that runs so far ahead of the pack that it could only be the product of a small group of single minded people. Sawtooth Specialty Tools' SawHelper Ultrafence is like that. It's a very unique miter saw stand and ever since we first caught wind of it a few years back we haven't yet heard a single negative thing about it.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

March 17, 2008

Prazi Beam Cutter

prazi_beam_cutter.jpgIf you've ever wondered what would happen if you crossed a circular saw and a chain saw...well you're apparently not the first. Seems that the R&D department of Prazi beat you to it with their Beam Cutter.

It's an attachment for your circular saw (available in worm drive and direct drive), that allows you to cut lumber up to 12" thick. It could also be good for cutting multiple stair treads simultaneously, depending on how accurate the Beam Cutter is.

It apparently attaches to your saw in under a minute and then it's off to the races. They also say it can handle up to a 45 degree blade angle.

Although we're sure there are plenty of safety mechanisms in place, the thing still looks about as dangerous as a tool can get.

The Beam Cutter for the worm drive saw costs about $125 and the one for direct drive is closer to $150. You make the call if it's worth it.

Worm drive Beam Cutter at Amazon.com
Direct drive beam cutter at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 29, 2008

Bosch TC900 Concrete Drilling and Anchor Kit

bosch_anchor_kit.jpgBosch has just released a little kit that's an 'all in one' for installing Tapcons. It comes in a case and includes:

  • Masonry Screw Drill Bit Holder
  • Allen wrench
  • Drill Bit Sleeve
  • 5/32" and 3/16" carbide drill bits (flat shank)
  • Two magnetic nutsetters
  • Two Phillips Head bits

We like the looks of this set because it's got everything in one place. Anyone who has ever installed a Tapcon probably already has all of these component parts, they're just scattered throughout two drill boxes, a bit index, and the bottom of your Jobox.

The Bosch Drilling and Anchor Kit retails for around $25, which is not a whole lot to pay for the convenience of knowing you won't have to take a trip to the hardware store to get that 3/16" drill bit that you're sure you have somewhere...

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 12, 2008

10C Crew Charge and Pro Charge

10c_crewcharge.jpgIf you're like us you've got an army of battery chargers lined up at your jobsite or in your garage. You've got a Makita cordless drill, a DeWalt cordless recip saw, a Ryobi cordless circular saw, and you need to keep everything charged and ready to go. It's nice to have the tools but having so many chargers can be a real inconvenience. Someone else, someone smarter and business-minded, apparently had the same problem and so now a company called 10C has released the Crew Charge and Pro Charge.

In simple terms, they are multi-platform chargers, meaning they have the ability to charge all of your batteries no matter what brand they are. But in addition to this capability, the 10C chargers actually work better and faster (a full charge in 15 minutes) than the chargers that come with your tools. On the 10C website they refer to their technology as a 'low heat' charge using an 'internal microprocessor' and 'patented algorithms." We got confused by their science talk and just watched the video on their site, which shows that the 10C charger really beats out a standard charger as far as speed goes.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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